Saturday 24 October 2015

This week's Herald; classic Cadno

Here, for readers living outside of the catchment area of the Carmarthenshire Herald, is this week's excellent, and poetic, 'Cadno' piece;

Cadno’s cacophonic councillor

Cadno has an abiding interest in the power of words, especially poetry. The other evening, as he was a-rambling about the countryside when he came across a county councillor, a-weeping in the hedgerows. 
Cadno peered at the sobbing burgher, whose lament pierced the silence of the wee small hours and drove away Cadno’s prey. 
Deprived of a meal, Cadno listened carefully and took notes by the light of the moon. If he was not going to have supper, he would at least take away a memento of the evening.

Carmarthen’s in Carmarthenshire,
A town, if not a city;
The river Towy, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost fifteen years ago,
To see the county suffer so
From Indies, was a pity.

They fought like dogs, if not like cats,
And dined upon the civic table,
And drank hard liquor out of vats,
And got votes from babies in the cradle,
Had the brains of salted sprats,
Wore their fancy Sunday hats,
And even kept up pointless chats,
Drowning out others’ speaking
In endless shrieking and ceaseless squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

Upon the door, there came a knocking
The door opened wide and there, quite shocking
Stood an empty suit of modest grey
It was Mark James, as bright as day.
Advancing to the council-table:
Said he, "Your honours, I am able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep or swim or fly or run,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On truths and facts that do you harm,
The mole and whistle-blower, those vipers;
Who tend to make you soil your diapers."

Meryl Gravell fairly boggled
As this suited figure she ogled
This was the man she was looking for
"Come in kind sir, and close the door"
Said she with the winsome smile
From which all others ran a mile.
"There is, perhaps a job for you
But tell us, what is it that you do?"
"Ah, Madame Meryl", the suit drew near,
"I’ll make your problems disappear."
The spectral garb, bought fresh from Burtons,
Gestured an empty sleeve towards the curtains.
Pulling back the hanging drapes
They looked down on the scuttling shapes
Below the shadow of Gaol Hill
Seeing common-folk made Meryl ill.

"Quickly, quickly, draw those screens
I cannot bear it by any means.
Up here in Council hard we try
To improve the lives of the hoi polloi
But what they want is bread and a circus
Not direct rule by their burghers."
The empty suit shrugged its shoulders
The Council room suddenly was much colder.
“Well, I’ll tell you, my dear Miss”
Said the spectre with a hiss
"I can all your fears allay
And make all questions go away.
I have a most amazing scheme
To captivate the proles, my queen."

The suit drew up to Meryl near
And whispered its plan in her ear
"A stadium, we’ll build" he hissed
"A few million won’t be missed
From reading, learning and the rest.
We’ll say our spending’s for the best.
If they mention Boston’s Princess Royal
We’ll slander them, call them disloyal.
We’ll feed them bullshit by and by
And praise our acumen to the sky.
They’ll believe it, like you do,
And out of them we’ll money screw
For parking on land they already own
And closing down Llanelli town."

And think of this", said the ghostly mentor
"We’ll even build a wellness centre
Or say we will, given a little hit
Of money from the public tit
We’ll say we can get the project backed
And from our wrongs public distract.
‘Look what we’ll do’ will be our charm
To distract from poor Emlyn’s barns
Our plans will be known far and wide
From Burry Port to Ferryside
Our fame will spread and none will learn
It is an albino pachyderm
Until we both are beyond reach
Sipping cocktails on the beach."

In Meryl’s eyes, a glimmer flickered
Into her handkerchief she snickered.
"A captivating vision, oh CBE,
It finds favour with my party and me.
But who will shoulder all the trouble
When our plans turn to rubble?"
The suit adopted a pensive pose,
Whom to ridicule would it expose?
"We’ll pack committees full of dummies:
Dumbos, monkeys and your buddies.
When it goes wrong they’ll take the blame
For sitting on our gravy train.
And if long enough we decide to bide
We can dump it all and then blame Plaid."

"On what a merry dance we’ve been led
While Carmarthenshire has been bled!"
Said Cadno’s councillor in his cups
As he eventually he reached the crux
Of his dirge frightful, the wretched soul.
On looking closer, ‘twas Emlyn Dole.

Republished with permission.
The Llanelli and Carmarthenshire Heralds can also be found on Facebook here and here.


Anonymous said...

I don't know how much exposure your blog gets, but given the combined efforts of that and the Herald there has never been a better time for galvanising people against those people in positions of power who seem to think the council is there to serve them and not the other way round.

With local elections coming, not soon enough, it presents an opportunity to have a clear out of those that believe a position on the council is nothing more than a food ticket on a gravy train for those that clearly have the inability to secure a proper job or simply use it as a means of subsiding a pension.

This council needs change from the very top. Ideally we [the electorate] need to elect people who not only fully understand their portfolio but are also intelligent enough to work and deliver it. Furthermore, I believe it would be a good move to remove the post of chief executive and simply hire someone, suitably qualified on a pro-rata basis, i.e., for council meetings. After all, if james is there in an advisory capacity then thats the same as the recent barrister who represented him over the pension furore.

Even at barrister rates the council would still save a substantial sum compared to the extortionate salary of james whilst avoiding his pet projects to boot.

A council led by intelligent people capable of making their own minds and decisions does not need the likes of mark james, merl grovel, grease yer palmer and dimwit dole.

Its beyond time for change. There is an opportunity approaching and I think between you, the other bloggers and The Herald there is an opportunity here not to be missed. Otherwise it will be business as usual and we will still be moaning about the latest project these clowns involve themselves with "for the better of the community".

Anonymous said...

Carmarthenshire County Council will NEVER be run properly, honestly or efficiently until three things happen:-
We employ senior members of the administration in County Hall who realise that they are there to serve and not to dictate to the people of this county (who, after all, are their paymasters and provide some, of not all, the wherewithal for their remuneration) and that they are paid reasonable but not outrageously and excessively high salaries – completely out of step with their responsibilities and capabilities;
That we elect councillors with the intellectual capacity and intelligence to represent the people honestly and without fear or favour and who are there not to milk the public of money in ill-deserved allowances and expenses and to twist the planning regulations to suit their own (greedy) needs (aided and abetted by their councillor “friends”).
That this county is not run on the basis of “who you know” and “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”

Anonymous said...

James is the biggest problem. He needs to go. I suppose if your CEO is as shady as this man clearly is then it's a free for all everyone else . Everyone can conduct themselves accordingly. Good init!

Anonymous said...

I have asked this question before.Who nominated Mark James for a CBE?

Anonymous said...

What this council needs is a vote of no confidence in james. The next problem is who has the strength to bring it.

Only then, assuming the vote is successful, will things change as james, gravel et al disappear into the mist.

Redhead said...

No, he should be sacked for Misconduct in Public Office - an offence that can carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment

"Misconduct in public office is an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office."

Anonymous said...

Good luck wit that, Redhead. The case would have to be brought by the crown.

I can't see how that would happen as it would have to be serious misconduct for the CPS to even contemplate it. I still think a no confidence vote would be the way to go. Besides, that would end his career and he'd find it difficult enough securing another job.

Mind you, with all the £1,000's he's milked he probably doesn't need another job post this one. Big fat pension and stick 2 fingers up at the residents of Carmarthenshire he can ride off into the sunrise back to Merthyr.

Unknown said...

The first people we have to persuade that Misconduct in Public Office has taken place is the Police and as I found Dyfed Powys Police are unwilling to take the matter seriously. Whether my emails got through to Simon Prince I don't know. Dyfed Powys Police were pretty negative and after a struggle I did have a meeting in Llanelli with police from Brecon but left feeling whatever I showed them their hearts were not in any kind of investigation. I gave up! The CPS need the police to take the matter to them before they look into whether to charge anyone. Everyone wants to avoid examining this Authority too closely; there is no one with a strong enough voice to insist change happens. All I hope is that the Carmarthenshire people start looking beyond the self congratulatory rag the Authority delivers to every door and start to look at the views and disclosures from more independent sources such as the Herald and bloggers including John Davies (regarding the Archives). I too would like to know how such a self interested shallow person as Mark James came by a CBE. Honestly, as far as I can tell, his work in public office (I know from experience he shirks his duties as a CEO in regard to the mishandling of whistleblower disclosures)has not reached a good enough standard to warrant such an accolade.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)